Inculcating Professionalism in Defence for National

Comments

Transcription

Inculcating Professionalism in Defence for National
Proceedings of 8th International Research Conference, KDU, Published November 2015
Inculcating Professionalism in Defence for National Development: Island
Nation’s Perspective
Colonel Mohamed Mukhthar
Maldivian National Defence Force, Maldives
[email protected]
Abstract- Historical evidences show that the rulers of
Maldives have taken steps to enhance professionalism of
the armed forces to national development, harmony and
stability most suitable for that particular time. The role
played by the armed forces in shaping the Maldivian
State can be divided into four stages; historical state of
the armed forces in Maldives, political changes in
Maldives and role of the armed forces, governance of the
armed forces and its impact on the professional nonpolitical institute and finally structure and civilian control
as well contribution of armed forces in achieving and the
full fledge multi-party democracy in Maldives.In the early
days of Maldives, due to the small nature of the country
and few inhabitants, there was no standing army or a
military in the Maldivian governance. Whenever the
sovereignty and the territorial integrity were challenged
an army was summoned from the inhabitants to fight off
the intruders. As a result, there is no single body that
oversees the defence of the country. The victorious
leaders established a culture of professional and patriotic
selfless military leadership.During the transformation of
the country from a protectorate of Great Britain to an
Independent Maldives, the small armed force of the
Maldives is utilized to exercise its authority in
maintaining the territorial integrity of the country. The
rebellions and various disobediences as well as the revolt
seen in the country were successfully dealt by the Armed
Force. Prior to the establishment of multiparty
democracy in Maldives armed forces was primarily
utilized in maintaining the internal security and
protecting the national resources. However, this role of
internal security and policing by the armed forces was
seen as a setback and hindrance to the national
democratization process. As a result a separate and an
independent Police Service were established as a
separate law enforcement agency under the Ministry of
Home Affairs. During the drastic and rapid changes in the
political structure of Maldives the armed forces had to
play a crucial role in sustaining the integrity and safety of
the nation. As democratic reforms were introduced at an
extremely rapid pace, an element of stability was greatly
required in the prevailing condition, and it was the armed
forces that had to play this vital role. The introduction of
multi-party democracy and the first multi-party election
held in 2008, proved the impartiality and professionalism
of our armed forces.In the years following the elections of
2008, the country has continued on its path in the infancy
of modern democracy and has come across several
challenges. The new political system and conflicts
between the three branches of the state ultimately
resulted in the resignation of the President in 2012 in an
atmosphere of political pandemonium and disorder. The
importance of the use of the military in an appropriate
manner in alignment with the fundamental military
values is greatly emphasized based on the outcome of
controversial events in this period.
Maldives is a 1190 island archipelago scattered in an area
of 115,300 square kilometers. The land space is just a
little over 300 square kilometers and there are 192
inhabited islands lying across the archipelago with
various numbers of inhabitants. We have a total
population of about 340,000 people as of this year and
the armed force is a very small percentage of this
number. However, throughout our history each
respective government have taken steps to enhance the
professionalism of the armed forces to better engage in a
contributory manner to national development, harmony
and stability.
Therefore, for the purpose of this presentation, I will be
discussing on the; historical state of the armed forces in
Maldives, political changes in Maldives and role of the
armed forces, governance of the armed forces and its
impact on the professional non-political institute and
finally structure and civilian control as well contribution
of armed forces in achieving the full-fledged multi-party
democracy in Maldives.
Although small in nature and population, Maldives is
blessed to steer through the road of civilization as a
country with a history of professional and patriotic
selfless military leaders. We as a country had our
sovereignty challenged many times throughout the
known history. However, except for twice we defended
and protected the nation. Historical evidence states that
the Maldives was ruled by Portuguese from 1558 to 1573
AD for a period of 15 years and in 1773 Maldives was
occupied by a south Indian king for 4 months. Both
liberators of these occupation showed utmost sense of
selfless service to the nation above and beyond the
imagination of any citizen in the history, and setting the
35
Proceedings of 8th International Research Conference, KDU, Published November 2015
highest standard for the military leadership of the
country.
revolutionary change to all aspects of the society and
state of affairs.
Based on this foundation, historically the armed forces of
the country was mainly responsible for countering any
act of foreign aggression towards the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of the country. Historical evidences
shows that the armed forces although were fully aware
of the existing political situation, played virtually no role
in the political power struggle of the country.
The pace of this rapid changes resulted in a situation
where a country which had been experiencing political
and social stability for over hundreds of years, was
suddenly subjected to a highly dynamic and volatile
environment. This, scenario opened a lot of avenues
through which the safety and stability of the nation could
have been placed in jeopardy and turmoil. Thus, an
element of stability was greatly required in the prevailing
condition, and it was the armed forces that had to play
this vital role.
When the Maldives changed from an executive
monarchy to a republic, the purpose and role of the
armed forces drastically changed to meet the demands
and requirement of the nation at the time. As the
country gained independence from Great Britain in 1965,
the armed forces of Maldives was used to exercise its
authority in maintaining the territorial integrity of the
country. As such the armed forces were deployed to
prevent any rebellions or to stop revolt as the country
proceeded to a full-fledged independent nation. Due to
these extra ordinary power vested upon the armed
forces during the infant stages of the country, a culture
of power abuse and inappropriate use of force prevailed
among the members armed forces in the 70’s. However
upon assumption of office, President Gayyoom brought
abrupt changes to armed forces governance, including
direct oversight of the forces to minimize and mitigate
the culture of power abuse instilled upon them during
60’s and the 70’s.
As more democratic institutions emerged in national
development, the whole of armed forces was further
separated from internal security matters, and a more
resilient and trained group of people were dedicated to
oversee the rule of law and harmony in the country.
Although this newly established Police wing in the armed
force was an integral part, their operations and
responsibilities were separated from general duties of
the regular forces. Furthermore, in 2004 the Police
Service was established as a separate law enforcement
agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Maldives underwent drastic and rapid changes in the
early years of this millennium. The rapid changes in the
political structure of Maldives drew an overwhelming
attention to all affairs of the state, including the armed
forces.
During the critical juncture of the country and its political
system, the armed forces had to play a crucial role in
sustaining the integrity and safety of the nation. As
democratic reforms were introduced at an extremely
rapid pace from 2004 onwards, it brought about a
36
As the country underwent this journey towards greater
national development, there were numerous occasions
during which the professionalism and integrity of the
armed forces were the key stone in maintaining a
conductive environment for progress and development.
The introduction of multi-party democracy and the first
multi-party election held in 2008, were conducted in a
smooth and safe manner, which was greatly dependent
on the impartiality and professionalism of our armed
forces.
In the years following the elections of 2008, the country
has continued on its path in the infancy of modern
democracy and has come across several challenges. The
new political system and conflicts between the three
branches of the state, ultimately resulted in the
resignation of the President in 2012 in an atmosphere of
political pandemonium and disorder.
In this period the importance of the use of the military in
an appropriate manner in alignment with the
fundamental military values is greatly emphasized based
on the outcome of controversial events. Especially,
utilizing the armed forces in situations requiring civil
authority and on controversial incidents with other state
institutions such as judiciary.
Even with these challenges the country has moved to
stable platform and volatile situations were diffused
greatly due to the role of the armed forces. Further
efforts have been made towards enhancing the role and
capacity of the armed forces, including the formulation
of key policies such as the national security policy and
defence policy which provides guidance to the armed
forces and further augmenting the civil authority control
over the military.
Also, numerous bilateral and multilateral engagements
were undertaken including awareness and education on
Proceedings of 8th International Research Conference, KDU, Published November 2015
legal aspects of armed forces, in cooperation with
international partners such as the US and India.
Thus, the long standing effort to strengthen and develop
the armed forces has had great benefit to the nation in
its development and especially in the journey towards
modern democracy. The armed forces of the nation has
always been structured and developed as a professional
institution relevant to that era, starting from its inception
to the present day.
.
37

Similar documents